After his mother survived breast cancer twice, Julián Ríos Cantú designed a sensor-filled bra cup that acts as an early warning system for breast cancer symptoms.
MEXICAN TEEN INVENTS BRA TO HELP DETECT BREAST CANCER
In 2013, Julián Ríos Cantú’s mother was told the lumps she found in her breast were not malignant. Six months later, another mammogram found they were actually cancerous and she subsequently had both breasts removed. Cantú’s friend Antonio Torres had also witnessed his grandmother’s battle with breast cancer. After researching the illness and current diagnostic practices, and equipped with an idea for a new technology, Cantú invented EVA, a bra that uses thermal technology to detect the early signs of breast cancer. At just 16 years old, Cantú along with his friend Torres, who both live in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, founded Higia Technologies and the pair are working together to make the EVA accessible to all women.
What exactly is the EVA Bra?
While it may look like a regular sports bra, the EVA bra was invented to help detect breast cancer early. Cantú, who is the CEO and Co-Founder of Higia Technologies which makes the bra, recently explained the science behind the EVA to Parentology.
“Tumors surround themselves with blood vessels to obtain oxygen and nutrients in order to continue growing,” Cantú says. “The blood is the main heat fluid in the body, more blood, more temperature.”
The EVA bra uses 192 thermal sensors to analyse how the temperature in the breast is flowing. Data is used to map heat distributions across patients’ breasts.
This information is used in conjunction with an app that sends the findings to the EVA wearer’s tablet or phone. If the bra detects a cause for concern, an advisory message is sent to call one’s doctor to get checked out further. Women need to wear the bra for 60-90 minutes a week to get an accurate result.
Note: this wearable technology is NOT intended to take the place of a mammogram, but is to be used in conjunction with existing detection technologies. The EVA device is used to regularly monitor the patient’s condition between mammogram scans.
Are the EVA Bra Readings Accurate?
To date, more than 350 patients have undergone clinical trials using the bra with an 81.7% specificity rate. However, more testing needs to be done. The BBC reports some in the medical field acknowledge while tumours sometimes do have an abnormal system of blood vessels, increased blood flow isn’t always a sign of cancer.
So far, feedback to the EVA bra has been overwhelmingly positive. Cantú says he just wants to make sure no women suffer the way his mother did with a late-stage breast cancer diagnosis.
While the EVA is not on the market yet, women interested can pre-order to be first in line once the bra goes on sale. Higia hopes to have it available in Mexico by the end of this year.
No specific date has been given when the device may be available in the US, although Higia are now working with the FDA in clinical trials to get the device to market by 2020/2021. The price will be $299 to purchase, however clinics will be rolled out where women can call in to be tested for a one-off payment of just $10.
Cantú says EVA is only the beginning. “We’re on a mission to empower people to own their health.”
For more information, check out the Evatech website, or Facebook page, or follow Julián on Instagram.
Breast Self-Exam: How-To
Breast self-exam, or regularly examining your breasts on your own, can be an important way to find a breast cancer early, when it’s more likely to be treated successfully. While no single test can detect all breast cancers early, Breastcancer.org believes that performing breast self-exam in combination with other screening methods can increase the odds of early detection. Breast self-exam is a convenient, no-cost tool that you can use on a regular basis and at any age. We recommend that all women routinely perform breast self-exams as part of their overall breast cancer screening strategy. If in any doubt, see your doctor immediately.